Every human interaction builds up on something very simple: the common consensus. This underappreciated facet of humanity brings predictability to our lives and makes our daily existence a lot easier to manage.

The consensus allows us to take it for granted that 99.99% of the times when we walk past a stranger they won’t spit on our faces or that they won’t slap us. It works in the other direction for the stranger too. This is not because none us are incapable of spitting in the faces of strangers or slapping them, but because the common consensus argues that this is a bad thing.

The consensus is not, by any means, a picture of absolute perfection. It has many rough edges, and the visual appeal is not the same for everyone. Some may like it a lot more, some may dislike it more than they like it, but it forms the critical foundation that holds the social fabric together.

The other important function of the common consensus is to keep the the fringe elements in a society far away from the core of the fabric. The fringe, by definition, is a narrow band that can’t carry the whole and thrives on conflict.

Conflict, whenever it happens in the world at a large scale, is the disruption of the common consensus. When it is disrupted, the fringe pushes in as the all-important foundation of the social fabric, pulling it in extreme directions, causing it to tear eventually.

The troubled times that we are living in is near the peak of the disruption of the common consensus. There is little that we agree on, across the social fabric anymore and the fringe is having a field day taking its place instead.

As we go along this ride, someday, we’ll wonder when did it become an uncertainty whether a stranger on the street will randomly slap us or spit on us.

Now is that ‘when’.

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